NBA 2K Announces First International Qualifier in 2019

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The NBA 2K League draft season begins.
NBA 2K League's draft season is upon us.

The NBA 2K League has been a success so far. Adopted by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as part of the family, with franchises readily signing up and players enjoying at least $32,000 in annual salaries. Now, the League is ready to go global.

NBA 2K’s League Hosts First International Qualifier

The NBA 2K League has announced the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational, the structure’s first international qualifier, to be held in Hong Kong from February 2 through February 3. The two-day competition will allow several players to distinguish themselves and be accepted in the common player pool known as the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft.

Only the 20 best players will be extended an invitation to the NBA 2K League APAC. The format will consist of a number of competitions, including double eliminations and scrimmages. The hosts will be inviting people from four countries, including:

  • Australia
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • the Philippines

To determine who gets an invitation, the NBA 2K League will use performance metrics from important events, such as the NBA 2K League Combine and the NBA 2K Asia Tournament.

Adam Silver and Kenneth Hailey
Adam Silver and Kenneth Hailey at the inauguration of the NBA 2K League

NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue has been quite optimistic about the future development of the league:

Our goal is for the NBA 2K League to be a truly global league, with players and teams from around the world. Nine international players competed in our inaugural season and our hope is that number will grow every year. Hosting our first international qualifying event is an exciting moment for the NBA 2K League and an important step in further diversifying our player pool.

Is the NBA 2K League Future Bright?

There has been no lack of investment interest in the NBA 2K League, with the Lakers, Timberwolves, and Hawks all joining the digital competition, among many others. Back in April, Twitch became the league’s official streaming channel.

The league has a very generous pay-out structure, with $1 million vowed just for the inaugural season and now the competition gearing for Season 2. Participating players are granted salary packages ranging between $32,000 – $35,000, depending on when they were drafted, making the league one of the most generous titles, taking immediate care of its participants.

The NBA 2K League has also done well in improving its overall viewership, starting rather modestly back in May with the NBA 2K League 2018 Tip Off Tournament peaking at 13,260 people, based on ESC.watch data.

By August, that number peaked at 61,810 unique viewers and 278,410 hours watched during the NBA 2K League 2018 Playoffs. Not too shabby a performance metric, given the fairly smaller market for NBA 2K esports.

The latest qualifier will allow the NBA 2K League to push past its home market and see if it can expand to add an international crowd, potentially expanding tournaments and prize pools to other regions.

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NBA 2K Announces First International Qualifier in 2019
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NBA 2K Announces First International Qualifier in 2019
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The NBA 2K League will host its first international qualifier in Hong Kong in February, 2019, offering opportunity to several players to become draft eligible.
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